Governor Charlie Baker today delivered a ceremonial administration of the Oath of Office in the Great Hall of the John Adams Courthouse, swearing in the Honorable Scott L. Kafker as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.\n\n\u201cJustice Kafker has served the people of Massachusetts with fairness and impartiality for nearly three decades and the knowledge he brought to both the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court has been invaluable,\u201d said Governor Baker. \u201cI am honored to swear Justice Kafker in to the state\u2019s highest court and thank the Supreme Judicial Court Nominating Committee and the Governor\u2019s Council for their comprehensive examination and confirmation.\u201d \n\n\u0022Throughout his distinguished career, Justice Kafker has remained dedicated to public service and his temperament and character will serve the court and the Commonwealth well on the Supreme Judicial Court,\u201d said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. \n\n\u0022As Thanksgiving approaches, I can say with absolute assurance that there is no one more thankful, or at least no one who should be more thankful and grateful than I am today. As I look around this hall, I feel this enormous debt of gratitude to every person present. I have worked with you, learned from you, shared personal and professional successes and failures with you, and greatly benefitted from your love, wisdom and support all along the way,\u0022 Justice Kafker said. \u0022To be standing here, I needed every one of you sitting here.\u0022\n\nJustice Kafker talked about the lengthy selection process to become a Supreme Judicial Court Justice, and thanked everyone involved in that process. \u0022I feel a personal obligation to live up to the high standards each of you has established and required for this position,\u0022 Justice Kafker said.\n\nJustice Kafker talked about the support of his family, friends and work colleagues, specifically the support of his wife, Lea Anne, whose \u0022love and strength, and her sacrifices for the rest of us, are the guiding forces in our family.\u0022 He also spoke of his mother, and said of her that \u0022if she had been born a generation later, in a different era, I am sure Governor Baker would be swearing her in as an SJC judge, not me. She is clearly the brains on my side of the family.\u0022\n\nJustice Kafker said that he had many things to be thankful for, among them that he is a 27-year cancer survivor. \u0022If you have had personal experiences with cancer, you know you never think the same about the future. You no longer feel immortal, no matter what the doctors say, and you want to make sure every day counts. After finishing my treatment, I decided I wanted to maximize my chances of making a difference in other people\u2019s lives.\u0022 \n\nThat proved to be a turning point in his life. At the advice of Judge Mark L. Wolf of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, for whom Justice Kafker worked as a law clerk, he took a position working in the Governor\u0027s Legal Office for then newly elected Governor William Weld and the Governor\u2019s Chief Legal Counsel, who at that time was Robert J. Cordy, who went on to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court from 2001 to 2016. He also met and befriended another lawyer there, who is now a colleague on the bench - Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice David A. Lowy. \n\nJustice Kafker talked about the influence of a book entitled, Laboratories of Democracy by David Osborne, which he said takes its title from a judicial decision written by United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Brandeis as follows: \n\n\nTo stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. This Court has the power to prevent an experiment. But in the exercise of this high power, we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.\n\n\nJustice Kafker said that he has been \u0022privileged to be a part of that experimentation\u0022 for the past 25 years, and that \u0022there is an empirical, practical reality to state government that I have been fascinated with from day one.\u0022\n\nJustice Kafker ended with a quote from Article XVIII of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution that reads in part, \u0022A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution...(is) absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty and to maintain a free government.\u0022 \n\n\u0022I am a true believer in those lines written by John Adams,\u0022 Justice Kafker said. \u0022I draw deeply on the wisdom of those who have authored and interpreted our state and federal constitutions.\u0022 \n\nSupreme Judicial Court Associate Justice David A. Lowy delivered opening remarks followed by Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Elspeth B. Cypher, and retired Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justices Judith Cowin and Robert J. Cordy. \n\nGovernor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito each delivered remarks; Justice Kafker addressed the gathered crowd after Governor Baker administered the ceremonial Oath of Office. \n\nJustice Kafker was administered the official oath on August 21, 2017, before the start of the new court year in order to begin hearing oral arguments in time for the Court\u0027s Sitting Week in September. He filled the seat vacated by Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Geraldine S. Hines, who retired from the court on August 18, 2017, a few months shy of reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.\n\nPrior to his appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court, Justice Kafker served as Chief Justice of the Appeals Court from 2015 to 2017. \n\nJustice Kafker graduated from Amherst College in 1981 and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985, where he was on the Law Review. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Justice Charles L. Levin of the Michigan Supreme Court, then as a law clerk to Judge Mark L. Wolf of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. In 1987, he joined the Boston law firm of Foley, Hoag \u0026 Eliot as an associate. From 1991 to 1993, Justice Kafker was deputy chief legal counsel to Governor William F. Weld. In 1993, he was named chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority. He was appointed to the Appeals Court by Governor Paul Cellucci and joined the Court on March 7, 2001. Governor Baker appointed him the sixth Chief Justice of the Appeals Court on July 22, 2015.\n\nJustice Kafker taught state constitutional law at Boston College Law School from 2009 to 2015. He has also served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School.